self-closing doors for chicken coops?

Elfpermacl at Elfpermacl at
Sat Oct 17 15:43:16 EDT 1998

In a message dated 10/16/98 8:07:18 PM, you wrote:

Thanks Dan!

I really appreciate your contributions and the humour!

I've been thinking how to introduce chickens to retired professionals who
want  their land to produce value - not to sink hard earned cash or endless
labour into their land year after year.

I been thinking that you're sensible that it is best to have a human put
the chickens away if you have only one chicken coop nearby. Too many
complex issues to leave chickens in the "care" of devices furthermore one
must see the chickens often and their situation to take care of them.

I've also seen on that good video "Permaculture in Practice" from England a
very ricketty ladder to the coop door high up that was designed to collapse
if anything the weight of a predator got on it.

What if you had an extensive orchard/agroforestry system and many coops?  I
have heard of dogs herding and caring for chickens.  Could they not be
trained to put the chickens in on command then press a lever and close the

Automatic door opening device is much more realistic and useful in my mind.
If you have layers then you don't want to let them out too early - so I've
read.  Hey - I've almost never touched a live chicken in my life - the game
is to let them out late morning 11am so they don't lay eggs out in the pen.
That would safely save one trip a day out to the chickens that is in the
middle of a work day - and it is not too technically advanced.

Really, I want to have designed and built for my clients a egg mobile that
a person could pull because it had big wheels, is warm in the winter and
has a green house gas-type window opener for hot days.  It also must link
up with a movable fence system for orchard areas and connections to Andy
Lee style tractors that will work vegetable beds. Suitable size for the
chickens - I understand that a  "happy" flock size is 12-17 adult chickens.
An adjustable floor: either the manure falls to the ground or is collected.
Not too high - must fit in a garage if really cold period comes. Water roof
catchment,tank and easy to clean water for the chickens to drink.  Feed.
Roosting and laying situations. Easy access for cleaning.  Auto open door.
Solar powered lighting to keep them laying - if cost is worth it.

 Well, that is some of the specs.  I know how to get the info on Eggmobile
designs  but I wanted to modify it for permaculture uses.

To get the job done I am going to have to find other people to help
complete that project with me.  Chicken tractors - egg mobiles are not well
known around here.

Harold Waldock
haroldw at
Vancouver, B.C.

Hey Harold:

Sounds like a kindred spirit there, diagonally across the continent from me.

We have an old camper-trailer (called carvan in most English-speaking
countries) that was abandoned here.  I'm going to gut it, put the propane
stove and ice box to use in a summer (outdoor) kitchen, work very hard with
sheet metal and body plastic to plug the holes where rats and snakes get in
(we have huge poisonous snakes), and use it as a chicken mobile.  I'll pull it
with my truck for now, though I'd like to get a water buffalo.  A conventional
ox would be more appropriate in BC.  

Dogs are good predator control except that it is not possible to let them run
free any more most places in the US due to "leash laws," which on the whole
are as necessary as laws get.  (I'm an anarchist.)  We've lost more chickens
to other people's dogs than all other predator4s combined.

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